In this chapter, the authors offer a working definition of political humour and summarise its main aspects as discussed in the relevant literature: the genres where political humour surfaces or dominates; the reasons why political criticism is so often encoded in humorous terms; and the (side-)effects of political humour. They also discuss the so-called “inherent ambiguity of humour”, thus explaining why political humour does not necessarily influence politics. Rather than provoking social and political change, political humour conveys criticism against the political status quo and recycles and reinforces dominant values and views on politics. The diverse sociopolitical conditions may influence who is allowed to participate in the creation and circulation of political humour and who may become its target.
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